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    Gavekal Research

    The Road Ahead For US Yields

    Friday’s US labor market figures showing a surprise 140,000 contraction in December’s non-farm payrolls emphasized just how tough the winter months are going to be for the world’s largest economy as coronavirus infection rates and resulting hospitalizations continue to accelerate. Yet the grim near-term economic outlook notwithstanding, the first week of 2021 saw inflation expectations push higher, with the 10-year breakeven inflation rate...

    0
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    Portfolio Construction Over The Next Two Years

    On Thursday, Anatole set out his view that undivided Democratic Party control of both the executive and legislative branches of the US government opens the door for unconstrained Keynesian stimulus, which will be highly positive for the US economy and equities. It will probably come as little surprise to Gavekal clients that I should dispute whether such unconstrained Keynesianism will be good news either for the economy or for US equities

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    After The Storming Of The Capitol

    The sight of a ragtag army of diehard Donald Trump supporters storming Capitol Hill unopposed and seizing the floor of the US Senate shocked observers to their core on Wednesday. Yet despite widespread fears that chaos and political violence are set to become the norm, there were important indications late Wednesday that US democracy and rule of law will prevail and endure.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s New Lockdowns

    On Tuesday, Germany followed the United Kingdom by imposing fresh restrictions on activity and movement that in effect amount to a new lockdown comparable—and in some areas even stricter—than the anti-coronavirus shutdown imposed over the second quarter of last year. With infection rates across Europe stubbornly high despite the controls already in place, and with fears mounting about the spread of new viral strains, the risk is high that other...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Asch Experiment We Inhabit

    In the 1950s, US social psychologist Solomon Asch conducted a seminal experiment which showed that people were susceptible to conform with the group consensus, even when their eyes told them the answer was wrong. Looking at the Western response to Covid-19, policymakers have badly failed the Asch experiment. The conclusion must be that political risk in the Western world is now as great as it has been for a generation.

    17
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    Gavekal Research

    Gravity Or Liquidity? Which Will Win In 2021?

    In hindsight, 2020 showed that if three conditions are met, a stock can break free from the earth’s gravity, and lift off for destinations only sci-fi writers could have imagined. Consequently, one of the most important questions for investors in 2021 is whether such inter-galactic travel can continue. Or will the coming year instead see a shift in investor behavior, with gravity once again exerting its downward pull?

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    A Very Merry Christmas From Everyone At Gavekal

    Unless something out of the ordinary happens (and given the year we’ve had, the bar is set quite high) this will be our last Daily of 2020. It is thus a chance for me to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for your support, friendship and interactions over the past year. As we never tire of saying at Gavekal, ideas presented in our research usually originate with our clients; or at least, the better ones do (we come up with...

    23
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    Gavekal Research

    A “Little” Stimulus For Christmas

    Having agreed another fiscal stimulus, the US government is poised to give its population a US$900bn Christmas gift. This revives relief programs set up at the pandemic’s outset, testifying to both their success in keeping consumers and businesses solvent, and their popularity

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What Will Stop The Dollar’s Decline?

    On Thursday night the US dollar index broke below the 90 level and so put an exclamation mark on two months of weakness. This sell-off means that the DXY now trades on a 14-day RSI of 22.8. The dollar is thus about as “oversold” as it has been in recent years. And up until 2020, buying the US currency at “oversold” levels was a winning strategy, if only because it was in a structural bull market. However, in the past year, buying the dips (...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Return Of European Inflation

    After averaging 1.2% YoY in 2019, the eurozone’s “harmonized” inflation rate went negative and settled at an abysmal -0.3% YoY in the last three months. Other price indicators have underwhelmed, as shown by the eurozone’s Citigroup inflation surprise index wallowing below -20%. In the US, by contrast, the same measure jumped back into positive territory after August. So what gives?

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    Gavekal Research

    The Lure Of Korea In A Rotation

    Hopes for a return to normality as Covid vaccines get rolled out have helped fuel a global rotation from growth to value equities, and from previous “Covid winners” to “Covid losers”. Due to its better pandemic management, clear policy headroom and exposure to the electronics sector, Asia has generally been a Covid winner. Hence, Udith Sikand and myself have argued that beaten-up non-Asian markets are the way to play this rotation (see Asia’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Deal Or No Deal: Should We Really Care?

    As the fifth season of the Brexit soap opera lumbers towards a predictably messy climax, the prospect of a sixth season will probably be enough to discourage international investors from considering British assets and sterling for another year or more. And rightly so. British assets should continue to be avoided because sterling at its present level represents a case of “heads I lose, tails I don’t win”.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    An Unfavorable Risk-Reward Bet

    Today sees the US vaccination program initiated, and investors are enthused that some kind of return to normal life is finally becoming visible. Nowhere has this “glass half full” view been stronger than in the US corporate credit market, as yield spreads for both investment-grade and high-yield bonds have broken new lows. These moves have occurred despite treasury yields creeping higher, and are starting to look overcooked.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Bubble

    The older I get, the more I am convinced that the economy is nothing but energy transformed. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the story of the economy has been one of constant movement from not very efficient sources of energy, such as wood and then coal, to more “dense” and efficient sources, such as oil and nuclear fission, with the aim having been to arrive eventually at nuclear fusion.

    22
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    Gavekal Research

    What Price Now The Big Tech Model?

    On Wednesday the US Federal Trade Commission launched its antitrust suit against Facebook, alleging illegal anticompetitive acquisitions. The action came as no surprise. It has long been anticipated, and follows the suit against Google for anticompetitive practices filed by the Department of Justice in October. Nevertheless, in calling for the breakup of Facebook, with the forcible divestment of Instagram and WhatsApp, the FTC’s suit represents...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Fully-Priced Winners

    In the league table of Covid winners and losers, emerging Asia’s equity markets rank among the winners. The perception among international investors is that East Asian societies handled the outbreak better than Europe and the US, and better than non-Asian emerging economies. On top of that, Asian governments rolled out unconventional monetary and fiscal support relatively early, and regional exporters have benefited from solid external demand...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Limits Of Europe’s Rotation

    The last five weeks have seen an impressive rally in Europe’s formerly beaten- down equity market sectors. As hopes have grown that vaccines will bring the coronavirus pandemic to an early end in 2021, the stocks of Covid losers such as banks, oil and gas companies, airlines and airports have leapt sharply higher. The Stoxx bank index, for example, is up 44% since the end of October in euro terms, 50% in US dollar terms.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Rising Yields And US Housing

    Investors are looking ahead to us economic growth picking up as vaccines are deployed and restrictions dialed back. With the Federal Reserve having anchored short rates near zero, this dynamic is causing a yield-curve steepening. The question is whether higher yields feed back into a still vulnerable US economy and choke off the recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Sell A-Shares Into Strength

    Over the last month, onshore Chinese equities have got swept up in the global rally. The CSI 300 gained 7% in November, surpassing July’s peak to set a new high for the year this week. And the broader Shanghai index is on the cusp of following. However, this is a rally running on fumes.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The ECB And Euro Strength

    In the last couple of days the euro has broken higher against the US dollar. The last time the euro hit US$1.20, European Central Bank officials led by president Christine Lagarde emerged to talk the currency down, worried that euro strength would import deflation and erode European competitiveness. The question now is whether the ECB will again come out to jawbone the euro lower.

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